I am a full-time employee at the Consulate General of France in Bombay in the Press & Politics Department and I am thankful for this. Sometimes small things make a huge difference in your life and being able to work full time despite having an energetic pre-schooler at home is one such blessing that I thank the Universe for every day.
This realisation has prompted me to start a Facebook group (and a page as well) called ‘Flexi-Work Options for Women – F-WoW – that aims to provide genuine job / business opportunities to women who are unable to hold onto conventional corporate jobs.
Tell us about yourself
I am an M.A. in French with a degree in Law as well. I got married at a pretty young age but was fortunate enough to have been able to carry on my studies. My family on both sides has always been supportive of all my decisions. Coming from a business class Gujarati-Marwari family, working has always been a top priority. I started my journey to financial independence pretty early in life. I have a 3-year old daughter, Saesha
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote:
I started the ‘Flexi-Work Options for Women – F-WoW’ group in January this year and it has swelled to a healthy 9500+ members. It gives me an overwhelming feeling of responsibility. So far I have tried to post all genuine jobs that have come to me through references, direct contacts, my own research and tie-ups and from members themselves. I am glad to see the dynamics of the group changing from being a passive job seeking group to one that engages in healthy interaction.
What has motivated you to start this group?
The most life-altering experience that any woman undergoes, especially a working woman, is the birth of her child. Suddenly we are faced with the dilemma of re-arranging our lives around the little miracle. For some the decision comes easy (and I envy them!) but for the rest, it really weighs you down. I fall in the latter category. Till I delivered I was sure I would manage to go back to work after my maternity leave of three months but when my bundle of joy arrived I had that sinking feeling that my decision was about to change. By God’s grace I could manage to save my work life but it started me thinking on the plight of thousands of women who are forced to stay with the decision of quitting.
Having nearly experienced it myself, I understand how heart-breaking it can be. That’s where I got the inspiration to start my group called ‘Flexi-Work Options for Women (F-WOW!). If you can’t go to work it doesn’t mean that work can’t come to you! As your children grow and become increasingly independent you are left with enough time to pursue something that enables you to not only fulfil your domestic obligations but also gain back your financial freedom, your self-respect, your confidence and admiration from others. It has Not even a year since I started the group and already it has a membership of more than 9500 and growing!
My appeal to women is to not underestimate yourselves. Keep your determination. Explore possibilities: alternate careers, professional courses, franchises and flexi-offers.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
The satisfaction of seeing the group developing into a healthy interactive platform is an achievement for me.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
There is this immense talent pool of women who have quit because of changed priorities but their potential is not utilised to the fullest. Unfortunately, the HR policies of our country are not yet at par with global standards and tend to veer towards conservative. To look on the brighter side, flexible working options are gaining recognition. We are definitely getting there.
What does the future hold for you?
I have a certain vision for this group. I want to make it a self-sustaining dynamic window of opportunities by offering different partnerships. I had recently tied-up with an academic venture to promote ‘Become a Storyteller’ programme, then with an exhibition company to provide stalls for the flexi-preneurs in the group. Many more are in the pipeline – distributorship, becoming business development associates, starting coordination services, etc.
What message do you wish to convey?
My appeal to women is to not underestimate yourselves. Keep your determination. Explore possibilities: alternate careers, professional courses, franchises and flexi-offers. Gone are the days when work from home meant form-filling, clicking, posting ads online, data entry and such mundane jobs. You just need to take a bit of risk and reap the benefits of your courage and grit.
On the other hand, I welcome any and all of you to come and professionally partner with me to utilise this space in order to create in-house and genuine job / business opportunities. Write to me with your ideas, plans and proposals on how we can together create more flexi-opportunities.
Link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wfhwomen/
Email: [email protected]